Day 2 |
Jan 30, 2010

At Sea In The Drake Passage

By Claudia Holgate, Climatologist

Co-ordinates: 58o 56’ 46”S 62o 57’ 38

Weather: Calm and partly cloudy with some clear skies

Air Temperature:1.1C

Pressure:993 HPa

Today was our first day at sea going across the notorious Drake Passage. This time though, the notoriety was misfounded as we experienced a small swell and stunning weather conditions. With this weather I tried to spend as much time as possible outside watching the birds and I was joined up on deck by many guests and members of the Expedition Team.

This team has a number of keen birders and it was great to be able to share our sightings. We had good sightings of Black-browed and Wandering Albatrosses, the Wandering Albatross, having a 3,5m wingspan is such a graceful glider and I never tire of the catching the air currents in their dynamic soaring behind the ship. The albatrosses were joined by a few Northern Giant Petrels and some White chinned petrels (which didn’t have a white chin). Some of the smaller birds, such as the Wilson’s and Black bellied storm Petrels also made an appearance along with the delicate Blue Petrel, so the birding was good.

Being our first day we had a couple of mandatory briefings, including the International Association for Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) briefing on the do’s and don’ts of visiting Antarctica as well as the Zodiac briefing, to get our guests acquainted with the use of Zodiacs. Our morning was completed with a first timers’ cocktail party in The Theatre where we had a chance to get to know the guests who are new to Silversea and that they had the chance to chat with us as well.

Lunch was an amazing spread of food, as always, and we had the extra special opportunity of watching the Albatrosses flying past the large dining room windows while we enjoyed our meal.

The afternoon continued with a lecture by Kristine Hannon, our onboard photographer, who gave a presentation on tips and tricks for good photography. This is a great talk with Kristine showing many of her photographs to illustrate what she was describing.

Late in the afternoon it was my turn to present and I gave my lecture on Ice, Wind and Waves – An Introduction to Antarctica and Its Climate. This is an introductory lecture giving some key fact and figures about the Antarctic and the differences between the polar regions, as well as basic global climate and why this makes Antarctica the highest, driest, coldest windiest continent on earth.

We all had just enough time after the lecture to scrub up and put on our best clothes for the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party, which was followed by a splendid dinner, prepared by our Executive Chef, Douglas from Canada.